The Comparison and Contrast of the Lives of Paul and ManassehSaul and Mannaseh are two men who have the same problem, but God brings both men to the same point in his will.
Saul, which would soon be Paul, was brought up in a Jewish household and was taught by Gamaliel, Gamaliel was a very important and well-known teacher of the Jewish law. In many older Jewish writings he was called a ”learned man”. This would cause Saul to be of a higher estate or class because of being taught by Gamaliel. He later became a Pharisee because of his knowledge. His being a Pharisee meant that he believed in angel, demons, and a bodily resurrection from the dead, among other things.
Being a Pharisee will help Saul later in his life. He was also a “zealot” of the Law. That was a Pharisee that took the meaning of the Law to the extremes. His job was to capture Jews who were trying to go to Damascus, which was against the laws at that time.
After capturing them he would take them to Jerusalem where they would be tried for their “ crime”. Under some circumstances he would actually kill the Jews on the spot. All of this combined together was at that time considered a very “holy” or righteous person. Then on his way to Damascus Saul was stopped by a light that blinded him-It was the Lord.
The Lord said “Saul, Saul why persecutest thou me?” Then the Lord led Saul to the city in which later Ananias was told to go to heal Saul. When Ananias healed him it also filled him with the Holy Ghost, or salvation. After Saul was healed both physically and spiritually he went and was baptized as proof of his conversion. This is where he was “righteous” in not only man’s eyes but in God’s. Now at the complete opposite end of the spectrum there is Mannaseh.
Mannaseh was an evil king from birth. His father, Hezekiah, was a very godly man, along with his great grandfather Zechariah, who tore down all the high places and groves for false gods such as Baalim. He became king at a very young age of 12. He worshipped baal and the gods of the heavens and practiced witchcraft too. He built alter to false gods in the Lord’s temple. That disgraced the temple and made God very angry.
This tore the people away from God. Israel was considered to be even worse than the heathen. The Lord tried to talk to the people but they would not listen. They were already brought too far away from him by Mannaseh.
In Mannaseh’s story the circumstances, unlike Saul’s blindness on the way to Damascus, wasn’t necessarily against God. His troubles came from his enemies who captured him and afflicted him. He called on God to help him, probably from remembrance of his father’s calmness in situations, and the Lord answered his prayer. Then he knew his father’s God was the one true God.
Not much unlike Saul’s example of acceptance of the Lord, baptism, was Saul’s tearing down of the false god’s groves and high places like his father Hezekiah. This action showed his true repentance. Though he may not have been as good a king as his father, he did eventually turn back to him. Now putting these two men into perspective we can see outwardly yes, Saul was a better person “humanly speaking”, but both of them were in need of saving faith just as much as the other. With out this saving faith they both are equally worthless, no matter what they did where they went or how they were on the outside.
All that matters in both of these men is that the Lord brought them back to himself. As Psalm 22:4 says,”… they trusted and thou didst deliver them.”BibliographybibleReligion Essays